Anna Chan
Oct 16, 2017

Moving from data-driven to people-based marketing

Why we need to go beyond 2.0 to 3.0, according to Amnet's regional MD.

Anna Chan
Anna Chan

Recent reports of adblockers have shown that consumers are becoming more resistant to advertising messages especially when they are irrelevant and untimely. Given a relevant message and non-interruptive ad however, this may change.

Data-driven marketing utilises cookies as a way to recognise consumers’ browsing patterns thus forming perceptions of what they might be interested in. While this has been extremely successful, what is restricting even greater growth is the inability to link data points across various platforms. This is increasingly important as consumers start to multi-task on their devices as well as interchange between multiple devices. The messages that a consumer receives across different channels therefore become disjointed and inconsistent; this is where people-based marketing comes in to resolve these challenges.

People-based marketing was first coined by Atlas but has since evolved to become an industry standard that every player wants to achieve. This 3.0 version of marketing is set to create verifiable audiences or “real people” that provide deeper insights on consumers.

Barriers to 2.0 and 3.0

The plan to launch 3.0 creates an optimistic future for the digital advertising industry and advertisers, who have become increasingly concerned about brand safety, transparency and now ad blocking. However, we see that this will only come to fruition if all players jump onboard the same bandwagon. At the same time, clear industry standards for the use of consumer data by advertisers must evolve along with the sophistication of the industry and capabilities.

Marketers’ buy-in

Even as we talk about 3.0, the full potential of data-driven marketing or 2.0 is yet to be explored. In drawing significant insights, an advertiser will need to define the factors behind a conversion on their site. This is only possible when tags are allowed on a brand’s website, that tie the actions back to the online advertisements that led to the consumer converting. Yet till today, agencies are facing resistance from clients who are uncomfortable with implementing tags for reasons such as privacy, malware among other worries. Advertisers should also look into leveraging technology to deliver personalised moments that are more meaningful to the customer. Customer relationships can then be managed over time by utilising CRM and loyalty programs to understand customer lifetime value and optmise marketing investment.

Shared information across the industry

As the industry begins to embark on 3.0, all players need to be ready to work together to make this enhanced form of audience targeting a reality. On their own, Amazon, Facebook and Google are already launching custom audience tools that link brands’ CRM data to their platforms but the capabilities are confined within their own walled gardens. Imagine the possibilities if the data from each player was made visible across all the platforms.

Consumer concerns

Adblocking tools and ad tracking blockers developed by Google and Apple demonstrate the mounting wariness among consumers who seek to shut out irresponsible advertisers. An SAP Hybris survey in Asia Pacific conducted earlier this year showed that a majority of consumers (83 percent of respondents) are comfortable with sharing selected personal data with brands but would not patronise a brand who misuses their information (78 percent of respondents).

Will we get there and how

Adtech companies are beginning to sense the need to combine efforts to overcome the growing sets of siloed data. An example of this was the consortium formed by AppNexus, LiveRamp, and MediaMath in May this year, to create a standard identity framework, making people-based marketing available within programmatic channels.

On the agency side, most are focused on enhancing capabilities to help clients connect offline and online data. Within Dentsu Aegis Network, for example, the data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency Merkle was acquired last year with this goal in mind. The recent launch of M1, a platform that has data on over 242 million anonymised individuals, aims to combine clients’ CRM (customer relationship marketing) data to create deeper insights and target audiences more effectively. The network aims for a global rollout to kick off to make the platform accessible to all Dentsu Aegis Network agencies and clients.

Technology aside, the machines of people-based marketing can only function when all gears are in sync. Apart from the programmatic team, the client, creative, and media teams need to be willing to provide the necessary support to achieve true success. At the same time, the industry must be cautious of the privacy of the consumer, and ensure all boxes are checked when managing consumer data especially the consent of consumers in providing their information for marketing use.

Let’s take a step at a time

Being first to market with a new offering is enticing. However, ensuring a best-in-class offering for clients and advertising is always the primary goal. My hope for the industry is that we will first work together to make the existing 2.0 version of marketing even more effective before the end of the year as we look towards bringing 3.0 to live in the years to come. And most certainly for all that to happen before we start to talk about the next version of marketing or 4.0.

Anna Chan is regional managing director at Amnet.

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